49ers

Goodell's letter to fans

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Goodell's letter to fans

Editor's Note: The following is a copy of the letter distributed by the NFL on behalf of commissioner Roger Goodell, outlining the developments associated with the NFL Legacy Fund.

To NFL Fans:

We hope you are enjoying the NFL season. The playoff race is shaping up and promises to bring even more excitement as we head into the holiday season. My purpose in writing now is to update you on steps we are taking to help our older retired players -- the heroes of the 60s, 70s, and 80s who deserve great credit for their role in building the NFL into what it is today.

These players did something for the game of football. Now its our turn to do something for them.

Its easy to say we appreciate them. But our actions need to tell the same story. Thats why we are proud of the agreement we reached with the union this week on how to distribute the 620 million Legacy Fund set aside in our new collective bargaining agreement. It means we will begin paying higher benefits immediately to all retired players whose pensions vested before 1993.

This new Legacy Fund benefit has three important components:

1. Every player will receive a major pension increase. We have significantly raised the pension floor of minimum monthly payments.
2. Players whose pensions vested before 1975 the players who played for the lowest salaries are getting the biggest increase.
3. The Legacy Fund benefits will continue not only for the lifetime of the retired player, but also for the lifetime of his eligible beneficiary.

The formula for distributing the 620 million fund was designed after we discussed it with leaders of several retired player groups, including Mike Ditka, Carl Eller, Bruce Laird, Willie Lanier, George Martin and Ron Mix. The new benefit applies to more than 4,700 players who were vested in the Bert BellPete Rozelle Player Pension Plan prior to 1993.

Here are two examples of how the Legacy Fund will significantly increase monthly pension payments to many retired players:
- There is a 10-year veteran player who retired in the 1960s who has been receiving a 200 monthly pension.The Legacy Fund benefit will increase his monthly check to 1,840.
- Another 10-year veteran who retired in the 1970s will see his monthly check increase from 165 to 1,810.

Nothing we do or say can ever fully express our appreciation for the dedicated players who built the NFL. But I believe that the Legacy Fund is an important step in the right direction. Paired with our efforts to set a higher standard for player health and safety, it represents the shared commitment and responsibility of the National Football League and its players to improve the lives of the men who played the game yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

Roger Goodell

Large group of Colin Kaepernick supporters demonstrate outside NFL offices

Large group of Colin Kaepernick supporters demonstrate outside NFL offices

NEW YORK -- Supporters of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who refused to stand for the national anthem to protest police brutality against blacks, showed their solidarity with him and his cause at a rally outside the headquarters of the National Football League on Wednesday.

More than 1,000 people, many wearing jerseys bearing Kaepernick's name, crowded the steps outside the NFL's midtown Manhattan offices.

Kaepernick, who once took the 49ers to the Super Bowl, opted out of his contract with the team in March and remains unsigned. Supporters say he is being blackballed for his advocacy, but some critics say he should not have sat or kneeled during the anthem or contend his lack of a job is more about his on-field talent.

Chants at the demonstration included "Boycott! Boycott!" Women's March organizer Tamika Mallory, addressing football fans, said, "I don't care how long you've been watching football, if they don't stand up for your children, turn the damn TV off."

Political commentator Symone Sanders said, "We are all standing with Kaepernick. It is time for the NFL to put up or shut up."

Earlier Wednesday, the NAACP called for a meeting with the NFL to discuss the fate of Kaepernick, who was born to a white woman and a black man but was adopted by a white couple. The civil rights organization's interim president, Derrick Johnson, said in a letter to the NFL's commissioner, Roger Goodell, that it's apparently "no sheer coincidence" that Kaepernick isn't on a roster.

"No player should be victimized and discriminated against because of his exercise of free speech - to do so is in violation of his rights under the Constitution and the NFL's own regulations," Johnson said.

The NAACP's state president in New York, Hazel Dukes, said: "Right now, the action of the league seems to imply to young black men that this league, which is comprised of 70 percent African-Americans, only values black lives if they are wearing a football uniform."

Goodell has said the league isn't blackballing Kaepernick.

Some other players followed Kaepernick's actions last season, and some are doing so in this year's pre-season. On Monday, a group of Cleveland Browns players prayed in silent protest during the national anthem. Among those kneeling was a white player, Seth DeValve. Another white player, Britton Colquitt, did not kneel but kept his hand on the shoulder of a teammate who did.

That protest earned the ire of an Ohio Supreme Court justice, the lone Democrat holding an Ohio statewide office. Justice Bill O'Neill wrote on Facebook that he wouldn't attend any games at which "draft dodging millionaire athletes disrespect the veterans who earned them the right to be on that field."

"Shame on you all," he said.

49ers activate Jimmie Ward

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AP

49ers activate Jimmie Ward

SANTA CLARA -- Safety Jimmie Ward was cleared Wednesday morning to begin practicing with his teammates after missing nearly four weeks of training camp with a hamstring injury.

Ward underwent conditioning tests on Monday and Tuesday to complete the final hurdles before the club activated him off the physically unable to perform list.

Ward sustained a hamstring injury during the conditioning test on the eve of training camp.

Ward was moved to cornerback last season, where he started 10 games.

He finished the season on injured reserve with a shoulder injury. He was the 49ers' primary nickel back in his first two NFL seasons.

Jaquiski Tartt originally took over at free safety at the beginning of camp. But after Tartt missed significant practice time with a ribs injury, undrafted rookie Lorenzo Jerome stepped in.

Jerome started the 49ers’ first two exhibition games at free safety.